In the early 2000s, a young painter emerged on the New York art scene, known for his hauntingly seductive figure paintings of friends and family members, executed in bright, bold colors and often set against elaborate wallpaper motifs. Mathew Cerletty, who shows at Rivington Arms gallery in New York, could have remained his generation’s premier portrait artist. But in the last few years the 28-year-old Wisconsin native went in a completely different direction, creating strangely confrontational sign and word pieces that range from bizarre koans like “The Feeling is Mutual” to “Diet Coke” logos. Turns out, the words are just as autobiographical.
When you first made your name as a painter, you were doing very traditional figurative work. A couple of years ago, you started making very minimalist sign paintings. Were you just tired of portraits?
There were a lot of practical reasons, like the fact that the people I would ask to pose never really wanted to do it; it was always very awkward and inevitably the person I painted would be really weirded out by the result, like, “Ah . . . You made me look creepy.” Also, figure painting was all that I was really taught in school. When I moved to New York, I got a crash course in the last 50 years of art history. I wasn’t really drawn to figure paintings when I went to gallery shows. -Interview Magazine, Christopher Bollen (read more)
Thanks to iheartmyart for finding this artist!